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View Full Version : Explanation of XeneCore Patent Technology--The Xene Corporations Patent


Arthuro
06-08-2011, 02:53 PM
Over the last several months, Donnay has gathered much attention for its innovations in racquet technology. On these boards for instance, much has been said of XeneCore, this miraculous technology that supposedly reduces vibrations, increases feel and most of all decreases the width of the beam.

This is the link for the patent and explanation of Xene Corporation's racquet technology. You will find that the abstract of the Xene Co. invention is directly descriptive of the current line of Donnay X-Series and Dual Core racquet technology. Having read through the patent, I think you will find that XeneCore technology is a filler concept that links the graphite frame to the inner fibers. I don't see on face how this is any different than the d3o concept introduced by head or other racquet companies, besides the material, but the drawings and scales are indeed interesting.

DonnayUSA seems to be using technology invented by Hsu Chien Sheng and compares their technology to traditional methods that use only air for the filling out of frames. From the diagrams, however, it does not seem that the frames are indeed solid all the way through, but filled with the foam material. This might explain the feedback many on the boards have referred to and the "aluminum" feeling I have spoken about previously.

Here is the link to the patent and the full disclosure of the intent for racquet technology.

http://www.sumobrain.com/patents/wipo/Fiber-composite-process-manufacture/WO2010147982A2.pdf

UWBTennis
06-08-2011, 03:23 PM
How can you even read through that 87 pg. monstrosity?

Arthuro
06-08-2011, 05:30 PM
I guess no one finds this interesting. I thought it could at least shed some light on what is in the racquets and how they are manufactured. The plastic foam is the Xenecore technology and I am interested to know how this differs significantly from other smart materials in Head, PK, or arguably the Wilson composites. After reading it seems DonnayUSA is specifically claiming to not need air pressure to mold the racquet, however, I don't see the manufacturing specs in the patent that eliminate it totally. Rather, there seems to be a hope that this technology doesn't require it, but I still have to get through the diagrams.

vsbabolat
06-08-2011, 06:13 PM
I thought this was very interesting from the XeneCore Patten:

Page 8 paragraph 27:
[27] Because no nozzle injection of air is involved, the labor associated with making this connection is eliminated, and the manufacturing process is made substantially more uniform and less time-consuming. This aspect of the invention also presents the opportunity of mass-producing the racquet frame, for example in a completely automated process.

Thanks for the link very interesting. Have not had a chance to go through it all yet.

Arthuro
06-08-2011, 06:25 PM
Thanks for the reply. I read it earlier today and found that very same line to be interesting as well. The document claims that the "automation" of the manufacturing process to be an advantage of the Xenecore line. This makes sense because the plastic power (Xenecore) foams at 130C. This means that you can make molds and heat them to the necessary temperature like an assembly line or more appropriately big oven, like baking cookies. If so, one would ask: why the higher prices? The technology as mentioned by the patent has been around (foam in a racquet) since 1978. And while they are using a 60-1 foam and higher grade graphite can that really explain the technological hype, costs, and exclusivity?

Additionally, I would be curious to know the impact of the material. How is this different than Head, or Yonex, both of which use smart materials that have the same effect of plastic foams?

Just curious...

Bhagi Katbamna
06-08-2011, 06:30 PM
You know, instead of agonizing over the technology in a racket, I just try to go hit with it and see if it suits my game.

Arthuro
06-08-2011, 06:33 PM
I am not agonizing. I am preparing for a test on racquet technologies and thought it would be nice for tennis players to have a basis of choice that did not depend solely on the marketing of any racquet to them.

vsbabolat
06-08-2011, 07:40 PM
Thanks for the reply. I read it earlier today and found that very same line to be interesting as well. The document claims that the "automation" of the manufacturing process to be an advantage of the Xenecore line. This makes sense because the plastic power (Xenecore) foams at 130C. This means that you can make molds and heat them to the necessary temperature like an assembly line or more appropriately big oven, like baking cookies. If so, one would ask: why the higher prices? The technology as mentioned by the patent has been around (foam in a racquet) since 1978. And while they are using a 60-1 foam and higher grade graphite can that really explain the technological hype, costs, and exclusivity?

Additionally, I would be curious to know the impact of the material. How is this different than Head, or Yonex, both of which use smart materials that have the same effect of plastic foams?

Just curious...

Those racquets by HEAD with the "Smart Material" are still hollow made by compression molding using the the smart material is put in between the plies of carbon fiber.

when Wilson racquets are foam filled it is after the compression molding process that foam is injected through the frame.

The xenecore is a different process.

Arthuro
06-08-2011, 07:57 PM
Those racquets by HEAD with the "Smart Material" are still hollow made by compression molding using the the smart material is put in between the plies of carbon fiber.

when Wilson racquets are foam filled it is after the compression molding process that foam is injected through the frame.

The xenecore is a different process.

Agreed. I got the difference in the process. High compressed air vs. powdered expansion under high temps. I am curious about the difference in the effect of plastic foam vs. smart materials. Additionally, per se the patent the foam is in the head and handle. I have seen a cross section of a K Blade and know for example that foam what I am guess in is silicon dioxide is in more than half the handle, and the lining of the head seems to be carbon black and graphite. What I am wondering is if nano composites like carbon black, graphite, fullerenes, etc are in fact the same "traditional racquet technology" referred to in the patent. The patent seems to concern itself with 1)the grade of graphite used, and 2) the hollow nature of air-ed frames. But the work of nano-tech graphite composites seem to significantly differ from the graphite age. I am just wondering if Donnay's argument holds true for graphite composites as it did for graphite.

vsbabolat
06-08-2011, 08:24 PM
Agreed. I got the difference in the process. High compressed air vs. powdered expansion under high temps. I am curious about the difference in the effect of plastic foam vs. smart materials. Additionally, per se the patent the foam is in the head and handle. I have seen a cross section of a K Blade and know for example that foam what I am guess in is silicon dioxide is in more than half the handle, and the lining of the head seems to be carbon black and graphite. What I am wondering is if nano composites like carbon black, graphite, fullerenes, etc are in fact the same "traditional racquet technology" referred to in the patent. The patent seems to concern itself with 1)the grade of graphite used, and 2) the hollow nature of air-ed frames. But the work of nano-tech graphite composites seem to significantly differ from the graphite age. I am just wondering if Donnay's argument holds true for graphite composites as it did for graphite.

The foam injected in the compression molded frames is polyurethane foam. Also the frames with "nanotech" are still made the "traditional method".

mctennis
06-08-2011, 08:37 PM
I thought this was very interesting from the XeneCore Patten:

Page 8 paragraph 27:
[27] Because no nozzle injection of air is involved, the labor associated with making this connection is eliminated, and the manufacturing process is made substantially more uniform and less time-consuming. This aspect of the invention also presents the opportunity of mass-producing the racquet frame, for example in a completely automated process.

Thanks for the link very interesting. Have not had a chance to go through it all yet.

After reading all the pages all I REALLY see is made CHEAPER. I see the benefit of Donnay to do this but don't see any big benefit to the player. IMO. Thanks for posting this info Arthuro. I enjoyed reading through it.

Buckethead
06-09-2011, 10:56 AM
I will start reading this patent today.

good info.

classic tennis
06-10-2011, 04:15 AM
Really...........?

Arthuro
06-16-2011, 08:21 PM
Anyone have an opinion of the technology?

Archmage
06-16-2011, 11:27 PM
I'm not impressed by my brief hitting session with the 99-plat Dual-core. My hitting partner was unimpressed as well... I think the 94-size and 16x19 would have been a better demo, however.

The patent... I'd need more of a background in fabrication, and I'm not familiar with other racquet tech, but still...this doesn't seem incredibly novel (what do I know? - nothing), and I'm also questioning the high price. Thanks for the comparisons against "traditional" methods - I guess I'll have to look into that at some point.

For other who haven't read the patent:

Discussion of the plastic micro-sphere expansion foam ("The microspheres or microcapsules including the foaming agent are about 10-30 microns in diameter, with a thickness of 5-15 microns and density of 1.03 g per cubic centimeter") becomes very specific at item [114] - for the curious.

Much of the patent seems to discuss existing manufacturing methods (prior art) and graphite layup, and that their patent can apply.

Yea, I'd have to read this, several other patents, and earn a bit of a fabrication background in order to fully appreciate the processes. I have some understanding of carbon-fiber and related composites layup (by vacuum process)...

Other notes (might want to look at these):

[154]: "The main concept of the method of the present invention is primarily to use the force of the foaming plastic, ..."

[149] "In accordance with the invention, the amount of foaming plastic material is selected so that it will fill the desired volume and provide the desired degree of pressure."

item [164] discusses the narrow beam width...not much info

I'm glad you're analyzing the patents, and I'll probably take a more serious look at your analysis (of this and competing tech) at a later time, but for now... I'm betting that I, like most others, will be unable to offer any useful comments.

whomad15
06-16-2011, 11:43 PM
quicker and less time consuming and labor intensive. but more expensive?

corners
06-17-2011, 10:43 AM
Arturo,

Thanks for digging up this patent and posting it. I looked for it when Xene first started getting hyped but was never able to find it.

Interesting insights by everyone so far. I won't have time to read it for some days, but for those who have, have you seen anything that would explain how this technology/layup/manufacturing process allows for very thin beams at large headsizes?

That seems to me to be the only real advantage of these racquets over their competitors. The marketing trumpets the extremely high tensile strength of XeneCore, but the figure they quote is actually much lower than for good 'ol high-modulus graphite.

Arthuro
06-18-2011, 08:02 AM
Arturo,

Thanks for digging up this patent and posting it. I looked for it when Xene first started getting hyped but was never able to find it.

Interesting insights by everyone so far. I won't have time to read it for some days, but for those who have, have you seen anything that would explain how this technology/layup/manufacturing process allows for very thin beams at large headsizes?

That seems to me to be the only real advantage of these racquets over their competitors. The marketing trumpets the extremely high tensile strength of XeneCore, but the figure they quote is actually much lower than for good 'ol high-modulus graphite.

I thought this as well. My initial impression is that the patent literature supports the findings of many board members that speak to the "deadening" but "stiff" feelings of these racquets. It also explains the weight. The material they are using is no different than other companies, in fact it may be a little under-developed since head, prince and wilson are using graphite composites, and nano-tecnologies like carbon black (looked it up its real), and fullerenes (yonex). Having read the literature it seems these make some difference, though negligible. Plastic foam doesn't seem revolutionary.

10ACE
06-18-2011, 09:47 AM
I thought this as well. My initial impression is that the patent literature supports the findings of many board members that speak to the "deadening" but "stiff" feelings of these racquets. It also explains the weight. The material they are using is no different than other companies, in fact it may be a little under-developed since head, prince and wilson are using graphite composites, and nano-tecnologies like carbon black (looked it up its real), and fullerenes (yonex). Having read the literature it seems these make some difference, though negligible. Plastic foam doesn't seem revolutionary.

Plastic foam doesn't sound revolutionary at all- however- incorporating it with the air injection process and the size of the beam- is where I believe the revolution lies.

Arthuro
06-18-2011, 11:21 AM
Donnay doesn't use air injection 10Ace. Their patent says they use powder foam that "rises" inside the frame rather than the high pressure systems of it competitors.

10ACE
06-18-2011, 11:40 AM
Arthuro I c that now- though I still imagine the beam width aided by the foam is their stance on revolutionary. I use the x series donnay and very much like the feel of the racquet.

Arthuro
06-18-2011, 11:52 AM
Yeah, as you know I played with the X Platinum...its okay, but nothing that far exceeded my expectations.

Ducker
06-19-2011, 11:00 PM
Ok so I was in the research mood, and since I am considering buying the xdual 99 gold I went through the patents for the Xenecore tech.

Really this patent tells you everything about the new Donnay line of racquets (there’s not much to them). First off all the racquets are the same mold (94 or 99). The difference lies with the filling that is cooked in rather than air pumped in. As you all know the color of the racquets corresponds to a different model. The only difference with these models as outlined in this patent is that the filling that is cooked in has different substances added into it, which in the end changes the characteristics of each given model of racquet.

So Donnay has eliminated the need to use air to pump a foam mixture into the racquet. What does this mean and what is the ultimate purpose.

Well this means they can make racquets by essential baking cookies. If you think of the entire Donnay line as a different cookie you understand the Xenecore technology quite well (chocolate chip, oat mill, peanut butter, raisin, etc). Does the baking method actually improve quality, I don’t know.

Also during the baking process they insert pins to form the grommet holes. The normal process is to drill them. I find it quite amusing that Donnay finds a way in the patent to mention their weight system (to prevent copies?).
After reading this patent I really wonder, why the high price tag on these racquets. The answer is believe it or not that a 100.000 or 150.00 racquet would not sell as good. People will buy more 200.00 racquets than if this racquet (marketing/business 101). The hefty price tag is the correct marketing ploy, especially for a company trying to make a comeback and given their history (they have history of selling cheap “Wal-Mart” type racquets which probably led to their demise).
Having said all of this, I will mostly likely be purchasing the 99 gold soon.

Ducker
06-19-2011, 11:02 PM
I really would like to know what it costs Donnay to make a Single X type racquet.

corners
06-20-2011, 08:24 AM
After reading this patent I really wonder, why the high price tag on these racquets. The answer is believe it or not that a 100.000 or 150.00 racquet would not sell as good. People will buy more 200.00 racquets than if this racquet (marketing/business 101). The hefty price tag is the correct marketing ploy, especially for a company trying to make a comeback and given their history (they have history of selling cheap “Wal-Mart” type racquets which probably led to their demise).

Having said all of this, I will mostly likely be purchasing the 99 gold soon.

Thanks for your summary and thoughts.

When they first introduced their line, some of Donnay's higher-ups basically said they would be following the "luxury" strategy: price high, sell exclusive, etc. to generate buzz, thin-beam lust and demand. As you probably noticed, Donnay got Tennis magazine to do a series of "advertorials" - advertisements disguised as articles, interviews and reviews. In one of them, an exec said they expected "early adopters", like the people who bought iPads when they first came out, to be the ones paying the premium to own Donnay's new racquets

But despite the annoying marketing strategy and high prices, like you, I'm still interested in these racquets, mainly because of that sexy thin beam. In TW University's ACOR tests the frames compare well with other brands. Their new, low-cost/high-price tech doesn't offer a performance advantage (what new tech really does?) but there doesn't appear to be a real downside to the thin beams in terms of power or stability either. (I bought my wife an X White and she likes it.)

I think it's great that consumers are digging into patents and peeling apart the technology from the marketing. I was really annoyed when Donnay initially sent agents onto these boards to hype up the line. That strategy backfired, as longtime posters sniffed them out, decided vital marketing does not belong here, and sent them packing. It's nice that people are turning the tables and critically evaluating their actual tech.

Donnay is really no different from any company in terms of trumping up their "tech" with marketing baloney. But maybe because they are new they are saying some things that appear pretty ham-handed, like this from their website:

Due to the unique characteristics of XēneCore™, RAs should not be used to compare power against graphite racquets because of their hollow nature and lack of mass. All graphite racquets are hollow so power has been measured by stiffness and swing weight only. In actuality, mass is an important factor in measuring the Coefficient of Restitution and "Power" which is actually velocity. See Wikipedia Reference. Hollow racquets have little mass to help increase the Coefficient of Restitution and velocity. The density of mass also increases reflex speed and increases velocity. Analogize horsepower vs. torque in generating automobile velocity.

In my opinion, this is almost pure BS. The Coefficient of Restitution can be measured in the lab, which is what TW University does with their "Power Potential" (Apparent Coefficient of Restitution) tests. As mentioned above, their line compares well to other brands. But "horsepower vs. torque"? Really?

I think the marketing department is getting more than a little carried away slinging their nonsense hash.

It will be interesting to see TW University's ACOR measurements for the X-Dual line. Donnay says this:

All have Donnay’s patent-pending and high-tensile-strength XēneCore™ material that was introduced in the original Donnay X-Series. But the Dual-Core racquets have second layer of XēneCore™ tubing on the inside of the hoop that further fortifies the frame and eliminates the loss of energy on ball contact.

Since more energy is retained on the strings it provides an additional boost of power, comfort, control and stability, while maintaining X-Series’ ease-of-swing, the result of thin-beam engineering and design.

With our new X-Dual and X-P Dual lines, we now offer players three distinctive choices: X-Series for players with fast full swings who provide their own power and are looking for more touch and feel off the stringbed; the new X-Dual racquets for more pace and depth from the baseline for players with medium-to-fast swings...

I'd be shocked if their Dual Gold, for example, is even marginally more powerful, in terms of ACOR, than the X-Red, which has the same specs.

And I love this stuff about their Dual Core line from their website ("About Dual Core" page):

"Two solid cores are fused together to make the most powerful racquet in history"

Followed immediately by this:

"Unibody design delivers twice the power of traditional graphite racquets."

Unibody = two solid cores :confused::roll:

TimothyO
06-20-2011, 08:34 AM
What sort of longevity does the foam have?

My only experience with expanding foam is child safety seats, bike helmets, and expanding foam insulation in a can. Safety seats and bike helmets always carry a warning label about not using them once they've been in a crash. And anyone who has used foam insulation knows it becomes brittle and dry over time.

It might be interesting to research the materials since behind their foam.

corners
06-20-2011, 09:08 AM
What sort of longevity does the foam have?

My only experience with expanding foam is child safety seats, bike helmets, and expanding foam insulation in a can. Safety seats and bike helmets always carry a warning label about not using them once they've been in a crash. And anyone who has used foam insulation knows it becomes brittle and dry over time.

It might be interesting to research the materials since behind their foam.

Good question. I would be concerned with the durability of these frames since so little is known about them and because their track record is so short.

Their patent mentions "Expancel 152", apparently one of the expanding microcells made by these guys: http://www.akzonobel.com/expancel/

The patent makes clear that the expanding foam strengthens the frame, allowing for (either?) less graphite or a thinner beam. But if that foam breaks down over time that strength would be lost and the racquet would eventually turn into a noodle. We know that racquets "flex-out" over time, but that traditional graphite composites hold up for quite awhile. We know nothing about the longevity and durability of "Xenecore" at this point.

Worst case: these are expensive but disposable frames. Best case: Expancel is super-robust and these things last as long or longer as the really durable layups of the past, like the kevlar/graphite braided Pro Staff line.

eliza
06-20-2011, 02:31 PM
Thank you very much, I look forward to read this....look at chem comp.....

Power Player
06-20-2011, 04:03 PM
Did anyone ever really buy into any racquet tech this much? I mean personally, I never have gotten excited about the youtek/basalt/xenecore/bio..etc part about a racquet. I get excited about playability and feel.

I am not surprised that the xenecore is not a space age technology. I do know that it does dampen vibration very much and my arm seems to like that a lot. I also know that the beams are super thin, but the racquet still hits big and you can get a ton of racquet head speed with the midplusses.

The sticks are $199 now, which is fine..IMO. I definitely find this interesting. At the end of the day, it is still a graphite racquet, but it has a solidity that I personally like a lot.

I can do without the youteks and all that stuff..I like a graphite stick and if it has other stuff in it..cool..but it all seems a little cheesy to me.

If anything this thread and more research will show without a doubt that racquet companies hype the wrong aspects of sticks. They want us to get excited about Basalt and Cortex, but we get really excited about feel and ball quality.

Player#1
07-11-2011, 09:40 AM
I have never have gotten excited about the youtek/basalt/xenecore/bio..etc part about a racquet either...

Well, except for Sensathane! That stuff is incredible!

Arthuro
07-26-2011, 10:46 PM
No more interest in the tech?

captainobvious
07-27-2011, 06:06 AM
It seems like this patent is more about the process of manufacturing than it is the end result. I like Ducker's post comparing it to baking cookies. By using different compositions of foam materials and a baking process, it would make manufacturing much easier and more efficient, with potentially more accurate results. I like that they can use foam composites with different mass to establish weight characteristics for their given racquet lines. Sounds like a smart way to do it if the process yields a good product.

Who knows what the cost involved is though for setup/running this process...? This could involve a high initial cost that would require either higher prices or high volumes of sales. High volumes would be tough at this point, so higher prices would seem natural. Yes, the racquet prices are at the higher end of the spectrum, but they are using a manufacturing process different from the rest of the industry so we have no way of knowing what the margins look like based on production cost. In the end, consumers will dictate whether the price is adequate based on sales.

What I dont understand is that they describe the hoops as 2 pieces that are fused together to make a unibody frame, but then try to establish in their marketing that the inner hoop absorbs the vibrations, not translating that to the outer hoop its fused to. Id be curious to see test data supporting that.


Thanks for posting this info Arthuro :)

Power Player
07-27-2011, 06:57 AM
No more interest in the tech?

I would be really interested if you researched ProKennex's Kinetic tech. There is no doubt that is one invention that actually works. I know this because my wrist actually works again after I play tennis..lol.